With all the societal pressure to maintain our appearance, it’s hard not to let it influence you. Beauty standards about body size cause people to act out in many unhealthy and harmful ways. For example, disordered eating is one of the most common and accessible ways to manipulate your physical appearance.
Eating disorders are behavioral conditions marked by compulsive, abnormal patterns of eating. These conditions are serious and oftentimes progressive and affect physical and psychological health and social function. Eating disorders cause severe disturbances in eating behaviors as well as thoughts and emotions.
There are three main types of eating disorders:
- Anorexia nervosa
- Bulimia nervosa
- Binge eating disorder
Eating disorders affect an estimated 5% of the population, especially adolescents and young adults. Most individuals don’t start out recognizing their disordered eating. They’re simply trying to drop a few pounds or look a certain way. Others turn to food as a way to cope with overwhelming emotions or a lack of control.
After some time, though, these behaviors set in and the signs of an eating disorder become apparent. Have you reached this point? Are you asking yourself if you have an eating disorder?
Do You Have an Eating Disorder?
It feels scary to wonder whether you have an eating disorder. Losing control over what, how, and when you eat, whether you restrict or binge eat, is a terrifying place to be. You might try to convince yourself that everything is okay and you don’t have a problem, but it’s better to honestly ask yourself if you have an eating disorder. Answering these questions is a great place to start.
Do you worry excessively about your weight or body image?
Preoccupation with weight and body image are usually the primary motivators for eating disorders. If how much you weigh or the way your body looks influences the way you eat, this could be a problem.
How scary does gaining 3 pounds sound?
An overwhelming fear of gaining weight drives many people to restrict their food intake. You might weigh yourself multiple times during the day to make sure you’re not gaining weight. Sometimes the number on the scale even becomes the most important thing in your life.
When was the last time you went on a diet?
If you’re constantly trying new diets or adopting various food restrictions to manage your weight, you might have a cause for concern. Individuals with eating disorders turn to many different types of diets to keep their weight in check.
How often do you track the calories you eat?
Can you eat a meal without taking a mental tally of the nutritional content in your food? Keeping an obsessive log of the calories you consume is a common sign of disordered eating.
Is it hard for you to eat around other people?
Many people with eating disorders find it difficult to eat around others, whether it’s to avoid eating at all or for fearing judgment that they’re eating too much. It’s easier to eat or restrict at home and avoid the opinions of others.
Do you exercise more than the average person?
Behaviors like maintaining a rigid exercise regimen, feeling guilt or anxiety when you can’t work out, finding that your exercise interferes with other important activities, or not taking time off for injuries, are signs of compulsive exercise and may indicate the presence of an eating disorder.
Does it feel impossible to eat when you feel hungry, or to regulate how much you eat?
Do you ignore hunger cues in favor of restricting how much you eat? Or do you feel a total lack of control over how much you eat once you start? Both of these extremes are harmful and may be a sign of an eating disorder.
Do you make yourself throw up, or use diuretics or laxatives?
Self-inducing vomiting, using diuretics, and using laxatives are all methods to manipulate weight or avoid weight gain.
Do you use food as a way to comfort yourself?
Using food as a way to comfort yourself can help from time to time. When food is your go-to method of coping with difficult situations or emotions, though, this pushes into the territory of disordered eating.
Does manipulating what you eat give you a feeling of control?
Oftentimes people with eating disorders feel a lack of control in certain areas of their life so they seek control through regulating what they eat. Unfortunately, this regulation usually progresses to an unhealthy point.
Finding Help for an Eating Disorder
It’s not easy to come to terms with having an eating disorder but it’s the first step towards finding recovery. Letting go of the false sense of control that your eating behaviors give you is challenging but you don’t have to do it alone. Eating disorder treatment like the programs offered at Shoreline was a vital starting point for millions in recovery.
Shoreline provides compassionate and caring treatment for eating disorders in Southern California. Whether you’re looking for a residential program, day treatment, or intensive outpatient program, we have a level of care that’s right for you. Contact us through our online request form or give us a call to learn how we can get you the help you need today!